One of the number one concerns I hear from readers is that they don’t feel like they’re progressing on guitar, and that they don’t know what to practice.
I set out to fix this problem by developing a small system in a free app called Trello.
Trello is a chameleon of an app, in that you can use it in so many different ways. If you’ve never used it before, it’s a card based app that’s useful for planning projects out. Lately I’ve been using it as an awesome way to visualize my practice schedule.
If you take a look at the screenshot above you can see how I’m attempting to lay out the week. Here’s what you should try first.
Think of everything you’d want to learn
This section is still a work in progress for me, but the list called “Grab Pile” is where you’d make cards for every single guitar related thing you’d like to learn. Get as specific as you’d like for this pile. You can write down scales, chords, techniques, challenges and more.
For more examples, check out the post called “Making A Practice Schedule That Works”.
Once you have a pretty full list on the left hand side, you can make a list for every single day of the week.
Moving cards around
I have one card that stays the same for every day, and that’s a warm up card. I duplicated that card, and added it to each day. The rest of the cards can be dragged around for each day. This gives you a quick way to change things up that you might not get to during practice, or slot something new in that you might have thought of.
The whole card based system is also really good for changing your practice schedule each week. I love how Trello allows this to work really well not only on the iOS app, but even on their website. It’s surprisingly fast.
Moving cards around feels as close to having index cards on a cork board, but it gives you a lot more flexibility because you can make your schedule from anywhere you have internet.
No one thing for too long
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that this practice schedule allows you to break things down into smaller bits of time so you won’t get bored. What you should try to do is lay the cards out in a logical way.
Warm Up > Scale > Technique > Lick Writing would be an example of a way you could “stack habits” and learning. That way you’re using what you’re learning very quickly in a musical context.
Learning scales and techniques is fun, but we’re trying to stay away from it feeling robotic. Write riffs, play over a jam track, learn a cover song - these are all great ways to make your practice a whole lot more fun.
This will help you progress further with your playing
You should set aside time one day a week to organize your schedule. This will without a doubt help your musical and guitar skills improve.
You don’t want to be figuring out what to learn when you sit down. It’s a good idea to figure out your schedule in advance so you can focus on playing and learning when you sit down to practice.
My practice time for each day is around an hour, but the card based system Trello offers makes it easy to add more cards to make your schedule work around your schedule. If you can do more things on the weekend, add more cards to those days. If you don’t get to a section of practice one day, it’s as easy as dragging that card into the next day, and reorganizing.
How do you set up your practice each week?
I’m quickly getting a hang of using Trello as my schedule organizer. Some days I’ll be able to practice for an hour, and other for 2 or more. If you’d like to download the app, you can check it out here, but don’t forget you can also use Trello on the web at Trello.com.